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9 Healthy Habits to Help You Manage Email Overload

9 Healthy Habits to Help You Manage Email Overload

    Today, having an email address has become as normal as having a surname. My seven year old son and my seventy six year old mother have email addresses. We can safely say that the email overload phenomenon is nothing new. Since 1971 we have been sending emails, but since 1971 a large percentage of us have not learned how to most effectively use email and how to avoid it becoming a cross we have to bear.

    Here are 9 healthy habits you can adopt to prevent you from suffering from the Email Overload phenomenon

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    Write better emails

    Some people treat email as an opportunity to have a chat but that is not the purpose of email. If you are arranging a meeting get to the point rather than send an email that will open up a 10 part communication consider sending an email that is concise.

    “Hi, are you free Friday at 11 to discuss the Project A? We could meet at Starbucks on the corner of Merrion Street.”

    When, where and why are all available, now all the person has to say is yes if it suits them or suggest alternative arrangements if it doesn’t.

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    Pick up the Phone

    A more efficient way to deal with arranging a meeting would be a telephone call. People often avoid making phone calls because they think it will take up too much time. Not true, arranging a time and place is much more efficient when you are speaking to someone in person, this way you can debate time and place more efficiently both parties being able to check calendars at the same time. Also if you send fewer emails you will logically receive fewer emails.

    Remove yourself

    Remove yourself from all newsletter lists, group emails etc. If you want to subscribe to email newsletters best have a dedicated email address so not to clutter up your work inbox and also to avoid them disturbing your focus and concentration.

    Chunk it up

    Check emails in chunks; don’t get tempted to check emails consistently. Smart phones and tablet devices are really awesome but they are not so cool when people start to use them to check emails at all hours of the day, I’ve even know people who check them in bed (gasp!). What you can also do is advise people that you only check your emails twice a day and if they need a reply to something urgently they should rather call you.

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    Turn it off

    Switch off all notifications of emails, on your PC and any other device that you receive email on. Never allow a ding or a bell disturb your focus from what you are working on. It may be an email telling you that you have landed a 1 million dollar deal but it could also be spam or an email from your aunt in Australia to tell you her dog is sick.

    Keep it brief

    Email is not a medium for spilling your heart out. Keep your messages brief and to the point. The less you write the more likely your question or query will be answered. Even though you want to send and receive less email it is still a better idea to send an email per topic, you are more likely to get an answer to all your questions and it also leaves a better trail if you need to find an email at a later date.

    Process your email twice a day

    When we say I have to check my email, it usually means you scan your email to see if there is anything urgent or interesting that you want to read or deal with. Checking email is the action to blame which can ultimately lead us to chaos, clutter and stress. It may seem like an exaggeration but if we let it go untended it can end up with thousands of emails sitting in you inbox without knowledge of whether they are actionable or dealt with. We need to substitute check for process. Processing is when we make a decision. We can Do, Delegate, Delete or Defer or we can use the Barabara Hemphill’s FAT method, File, Act or Trash.

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    Organize your email

    The emails you need to keep for reference should be filed in a logical system and the emails that require action should be either moved to your calendar or your task system. All those that don’t fall into these categories should be trashed.

    Get a Life

    Remember that your email doesn’t own you. You are the adult around here and you need to take control. Follow these actions advised and before long you will be hanging out in your empty Inbox wondering why you feel so calm and peaceful.

    (Photo credit: An image of some flying envelopes via Shutterstock)

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    Ciara Conlon

    Productivity coach, speaker, blogger and author of Chaos to Control, a Practical Guide to Getting Things Done

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    Last Updated on December 18, 2020

    Can Technology have Biases Like Humans?

    Can Technology have Biases Like Humans?

    Technology has taken a vantage leap in providing solutions for man. Before now, technology used to appear complex and would require a great deal of expertise to handle solutions available. Today, we have technology applicable in the simplest human activities as smart products with intelligent algorithms powering them as they make error-free judgments and provide intelligent and analytic solutions.

    Does technology have all the answers?

    This article from Credit Suisse, tells us that technology does not have all the answers because it has been found to exhibit “similar biases,” as humans. No one can discredit the impact of technology, but it is not totally free of human input and this is the reason we experience these biases in many areas we have technology holding foot.

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    Creating technological solutions transparently

    This article suggests that the process of creating technological solutions be made transparent and subject to contribution from many people who would end up as users of the product – male, female, young, old, learned, unlearned and all other preferences as we have them. It also underscores the importance of having women on product development teams. This approach is not sure to eliminate all forms of bias, but it is a good way to start in order to appraise the full benefits of technology.

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    Technology as the connecting tool

    Technology so far has been a major connecting tool amongst us humans. It is used and appreciated by all regardless of race, language and sex. In order to keep it less subjective to these arguments about human biases. I believe we should gather opinions on products and solutions before making them available to the public. This could be done by gathering input from intended target users and receiving feedback across the stages of production.

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    “Recognizing the problem is a start…success will depend on inclusive technologies that meet this vast untapped market.” This cannot be more apt especially at a time when we look up to technology for solutions. We should not muzzle our progress with technology by battling algorithm bias. The first way to avoid this battle is by reading this article here.

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